Lipstick (1976)

R | 89 mins | Drama | 1976

Director:

Lamont Johnson

Writer:

David Rayfiel

Producer:

Freddie Fields

Cinematographer:

Bill Butler

Editor:

Marion Rothman

Production Designer:

Robert Luthardt

Production Company:

Dino De Laurentiis Corporation
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HISTORY

       End credits include the following written statement: “The producers wish to acknowledge the counsel and advice of the following: Frederic Storaska, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Prevention of Rape and Assault (NOPRA); Tobey Shaffer, J.D., Attorney at Law, Formerly Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles; Lt. Mary Keefe, Sex Crime Analysis Unit, Police Department, City of New York.”
       According to articles in the 22 Oct 1975 DV and the 29 Oct 1975 LAT, this was agent Freddie Fields’ first feature film as a producer. According to the 22 Oct 1975 DV, the budget for Lipstick was $3.5 million which, according to Fields, required the casting of “newcomers.” Production notes from the AMPAS library and items in the 13 Sep 1975 LAT, the 22 Sep 1975 Newsweek, and the 10 Sep 1975 Var stated that model Margaux Hemingway and her younger sister, Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughters of novelist Ernest Hemingway, were hired to play sisters in their motion picture debuts. The 22 Oct 1975 DV reported that Jeff Bridges, an experienced actor, had been considered for the role of “Gordon Stuart” but had declined because he was busy with another project. According to an item in the 29 Oct 1975 LAT, Bridges had signed for the part, but pulled out of the project, reportedly over ethical concerns with the script. A Paramount representative noted Bridges had a scheduling conflict. According to production notes, Anne Bancroft’s character was the first lawyer the actress had portrayed. Bancroft’s research included working ... More Less

       End credits include the following written statement: “The producers wish to acknowledge the counsel and advice of the following: Frederic Storaska, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Prevention of Rape and Assault (NOPRA); Tobey Shaffer, J.D., Attorney at Law, Formerly Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles; Lt. Mary Keefe, Sex Crime Analysis Unit, Police Department, City of New York.”
       According to articles in the 22 Oct 1975 DV and the 29 Oct 1975 LAT, this was agent Freddie Fields’ first feature film as a producer. According to the 22 Oct 1975 DV, the budget for Lipstick was $3.5 million which, according to Fields, required the casting of “newcomers.” Production notes from the AMPAS library and items in the 13 Sep 1975 LAT, the 22 Sep 1975 Newsweek, and the 10 Sep 1975 Var stated that model Margaux Hemingway and her younger sister, Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughters of novelist Ernest Hemingway, were hired to play sisters in their motion picture debuts. The 22 Oct 1975 DV reported that Jeff Bridges, an experienced actor, had been considered for the role of “Gordon Stuart” but had declined because he was busy with another project. According to an item in the 29 Oct 1975 LAT, Bridges had signed for the part, but pulled out of the project, reportedly over ethical concerns with the script. A Paramount representative noted Bridges had a scheduling conflict. According to production notes, Anne Bancroft’s character was the first lawyer the actress had portrayed. Bancroft’s research included working with the film’s technical director, Toby Shaffer, who was a former deputy district attorney. According to items in the 4 Oct 1975 DV and the 22 Sep 1975 Newsweek, fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo, who had often photographed Margaux Hemingway for real-life fashion shoots, was hired to portray the fashion photographer named “Francesco” in the film. In the credits, Scavullo is listed only by his first name.
       According to an item in the 1 Sep 1975 Box, the film would shoot in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
       The film opened to mixed reviews. As noted in an article in the 26 Apr 1976 New York, the movie could have been an intelligent examination of the issue of rape, but, instead, was more of an exploitation of the violence. The New York article and reviews highly praised Mariel Hemingway’s debut performance.
       According to an article in the 9 Apr 1976 DV the film did not gross overall as successfully as anticipated, although it did well in major markets. Paramount decided to revise its advertising campaign by highlighting the element of rape with a new tagline: “Rape Can Turn A Cover Girl Into A Killer.” An article in the 21 Apr 1976 LAT reported that the new campaign would feature a picture of Margaux Hemingway being strangled by Christopher Sarandon. The ad would also feature a photo of Hemingway brandishing a shotgun and would list the rape statistics of each respective market. According to the article, it was felt that the previous campaign, featuring a glamour shot of Hemingway’s face, did not accurately sell the movie’s focus on rape. The new campaign was designed to appeal to a lower-income audience who, reportedly, responded better to “visual action pictures.” The executives also felt the campaign’s rape statistics, personalized for each market, would help convey the film’s message to women.
       According to an item in the 26 Apr 1976 People, Francesco Scavullo considered suing producer Freddie Fields over the end credit for “Special Still Photographer.” In the film, that credit went to Fields’ daughter, Kathy Fields. Scavullo’s still photographs of Margaux Hemingway were used during the trial scenes and Scavullo felt he was not properly credited. In a letter printed in the 10 May 1976 People, Fields refuted Scavullo’s claim, stating that Scavullo had previously photographed Hemingway for other assignments, and had lent those photographs to the production. Fields noted that Scavullo was hired only as an actor, and that Kathy Fields was hired specifically to shoot still photographs for the film. According to articles in the 11 May 1977 LAT, the 12 May 1977 HR, and the 18 May 1977 Var, W. Ware Lynch filed a $6 million lawsuit against Dino De Laurentiis, Paramount Pictures and others involved with Lipstick. Ware claimed that three years prior to the movie’s production, he wrote Rape! One Victim’s Story: A Documentary and that the screenplay of Lipstick was based on his book. The outcome of this suit has not been determined.
       An item in the 26 Jan 1982 HR reported that Lipstick was one of four films that Paramount TV Domestic Distribution would sell directly to local stations instead of pursuing a network deal.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Sep 1975.
---
Box Office
22 Sep 1975.
---
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 1976
p. 2, 31.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Sep 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Oct 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Apr 1976
p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
21 Apr 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 May 1977.
---
New York
26 Apr 1976.
---
New York Times
3 Apr 1976
p. 19.
Newsweek
22 Sep 1975.
---
People
26 Apr 1976.
---
People
10 May 1976.
---
Variety
10 Sep 1975.
---
Variety
7 Apr 1976
p. 22.
Variety
18 May 1977.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Dino De Laurentiis Presents
A Freddie Fields Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Exec prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stillman
Spec still photog
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
MUSIC
Mus/Mus arr
Mus arr
Addl mus arr and cond
Mus ed
SOUND
Prod sd
VISUAL EFFECTS
Logo/Graphics
Titles des
DANCE
Dance choreog
MAKEUP
Ms. Hemingway's hair des
Ms. Hemingway's makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Loc coord
Casting
Asst casting
Dial coach
Motor homes
DETAILS
Release Date:
1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 2 April 1976
Production Date:
Began October 1975
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
89
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24459
SYNOPSIS

Chris McCormick is a successful model for a major lipstick campaign. Her teenage sister, Kathy, has lived with Chris since their parents were killed in a car accident. Kathy has a crush on her music teacher, Gordon Stuart, and wants Chris to hear his music. With Chris’s permission, Kathy invites Stuart to a photo shoot at the beach. During a break, Chris apologizes that the shoot is running late and she will not be able to listen to Stuart’s music. Stuart is understanding and offers to stop by their home the next afternoon. Chris agrees, and rushes back to work. However, when Stuart arrives the next day, Chris has forgotten and is showering. She puts on a robe, lets Stuart in and tells him to get a drink while she changes. As he gets a beer, he sees her dressing in the bedroom. He looks around at the photos of her camping, shooting a rifle, and posing with famous stars. When Chris returns, Stuart plays his strange “electronic” music. She forces a polite smile, but quickly gets up when the phone rings and takes the call in her bedroom. After a long moment, Stuart finally turns off the loud music. He picks up his tape recorder and heads for the bedroom. When Chris hangs up the phone, Stuart angrily tells her that he knows she forgot their meeting. He grabs Chris, slams her head against the bedpost and demands to know where the red lipstick is. Chris runs to the bathroom, but Stuart overpowers her, breaks the mirror and smears lipstick on ... +


Chris McCormick is a successful model for a major lipstick campaign. Her teenage sister, Kathy, has lived with Chris since their parents were killed in a car accident. Kathy has a crush on her music teacher, Gordon Stuart, and wants Chris to hear his music. With Chris’s permission, Kathy invites Stuart to a photo shoot at the beach. During a break, Chris apologizes that the shoot is running late and she will not be able to listen to Stuart’s music. Stuart is understanding and offers to stop by their home the next afternoon. Chris agrees, and rushes back to work. However, when Stuart arrives the next day, Chris has forgotten and is showering. She puts on a robe, lets Stuart in and tells him to get a drink while she changes. As he gets a beer, he sees her dressing in the bedroom. He looks around at the photos of her camping, shooting a rifle, and posing with famous stars. When Chris returns, Stuart plays his strange “electronic” music. She forces a polite smile, but quickly gets up when the phone rings and takes the call in her bedroom. After a long moment, Stuart finally turns off the loud music. He picks up his tape recorder and heads for the bedroom. When Chris hangs up the phone, Stuart angrily tells her that he knows she forgot their meeting. He grabs Chris, slams her head against the bedpost and demands to know where the red lipstick is. Chris runs to the bathroom, but Stuart overpowers her, breaks the mirror and smears lipstick on her face. He ties Chris to the bed with her silk scarves, turns on his music and rapes her. When Kathy arrives home she hears her teacher’s music and sees them lying on Chris’s bed. Upset, Kathy goes to her room. Although dazed, Chris hears Kathy arrive. Stuart is unconcerned. He doubts this is the first time Kathy has walked in on her sister having sex. Stuart pulls a knife, slices the scarves and leaves. Chris runs to Kathy and tells her sister that she was raped. The police arrive, question Chris, and then leave to arrest Stuart. Chris and Kathy go to stay with their brother Martin, a priest. Chris confesses to her brother that she feels a lot more than anger at Stuart. Martin and Steve, Chris’s ad agency boyfriend, are at her side when she meets with District Attorney Carla Bondi. Carla will only prosecute if Chris agrees to testify. Steve initially agrees that Chris should take the stand until Carla explains that Chris will be abused again in court by the defense attorney who will try to humiliate her. Steve wants to know what the chances are that Stuart will go to jail. Carla admits that only two out of 100 serve time. Steve changes his mind. He doesn’t want to risk Chris’s career when things are going so well. Chris, however, wants revenge and agrees to testify. Reporters throng outside the courthouse. Inside the courtroom, the proceedings are exactly as Carla described. When Kathy takes the stand, the defense attorney questions whether she would know it was rape if her sister had not told her so. When Chris is on the stand, the defense attorney shows topless photos of her from the beach photo shoot and insinuates that Chris deliberately invited Stuart to the shoot to arouse him. The questions become harsher and more personal. Stuart takes the stand and claims he is not proud of his actions, but he was just doing what Chris asked him to do. Chris screams that he is a liar. Stuart, however, insists that he only wanted to please Chris, even though he did not share her predilection for violent sex. Carla suggests Stuart wanted Chris to help advance his music career. Carla plays Stuart’s unnerving music in court, and claims that Stuart was furious when Chris rejected his music. Stuart denies it, and seems genuinely upset as he looks to Chris and asks why she is doing this to him. Stuart’s lawyer recalls Kathy to the stand and hammers the point that Kathy could not have thought her sister was being raped because she did not call anyone for help. The jury finds Stuart not guilty. After the trial, Chris learns that Steve and his ad agency are dropping her campaign. Chris and Kathy decide to get away to the mountains, and pack a rifle among their other luggage. When they arrive at the Pacific Design Center for Chris’s final photo shoot, Kathy sees friends from her former school. They are rehearsing a dance performance and ask Kathy to join them, but she stays with Chris. Kathy soon gets bored, and someone suggests she explore areas of the complex that are under construction. Kathy hears electronic music and enters the dance rehearsal hall, which is under the musical supervision of Stuart. The room is dark and highlighted only by lasers. When the rehearsal is over, the lights go up and the other girls leave. Stuart sees Kathy and is friendly. He is sorry Kathy has to miss the performance and offers to record her breathing so she can be part of the music. Slowly, Kathy joins him. He places an electrode on her chest and amplifies her breathing. He moves the electrode inappropriately lower on her chest and Kathy rushes off. Stuart stalks the terrified girl through the deserted half-finished hallways, and rapes her. Afterward, Kathy stumbles into Chris’s photo shoot and tells Chris what happened. Chris sees Stuart in the parking lot, getting ready to drive away. She races to her car and grabs her rifle. Chris shoots Stuart, and his car crashes. He crawls out of the toppled car and Chris shoots again, blowing him off the car. She shoots again, hitting him between the legs. Chris keeps shooting and shooting, but the rifle is empty. Stuart is dead, and Chris is arrested. Carla Bondi leaves the District Attorney’s office to represent Chris. Carla argues that Chris was abused by the system and justice was served by Stuart’s death. Chris is found not guilty. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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